Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee has announced that five marketing and research projects supporting Delaware crops will receive nearly $230,000 in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program,
“Our partners do excellent work in promoting and enhancing our local agricultural economy through projects such as these,” Kee said. “The marketing initiatives will help growers with new opportunities, and research will lead to new products and better yields. Projects supported by this funding really do make a difference.”
The projects include:
• A supply network by Washington’s Green Grocers to enhance distribution of Delaware fruits and vegetables to Delaware and Delmarva Peninsula restaurants, schools, small retail outlets and other institutional outlets
• An expansion of the Planting Hope in Delaware community garden at the Herman Holloway Campus of the Department of Health and Social Services, developing a community-supported agriculture program and creating an accessible demonstration garden
• An initiative by the Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Section to connect farmers and regional and national produce buyers, and promote local produce in grocery stores
• Improving sales of local produce grown at the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s 12th and Brandywine Urban Farm to Wilmington residents, supporting the work of the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition
• Research by the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences to develop heat-tolerant lima bean varieties.
Specialty crops are a broad category that includes fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. Funding cannot be used for field crops, such as corn and soybeans, or animal agriculture.